consultants are sandburs

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Watching that Montana debate, two things about Gianforte. [UPDATED (more things)]

1. He's running against Nancy Pelosi. He said that in closing. Fact is, he's running against two people. Gianforte still belives in scaring children with a bogie man.

2. He sat there and flat out lied about a 90% marginal tax rate, with his "working into November for the government" BS. The aim he has, a low marginal rate is his because his cash flow from investment income is so vast compared to regular people that it puts most of his annual income at the high bracket margin. Everybody's first $50,000 is taxed the same for those making that or more; ditto, the first $100,000; money over the cut-off low income no-taxation level -up to the threshold for the next bracket - is taxed the same, for Quist or for Gianforte that low end bracket is at the lowest rate there is, properly so. As income for some marches from lower to next, to higher, to highest bracket, then the marginal amount in that higher bracket sees the higher rate imposed on that fraction of income. The fact is, raising that floor and cutting bottom rates is where cuts help the entire economy. People who spend it all because they have to, recirculate money into the community, they buy, they do not hoard. Those with loopholes dodge taxes regular people pay; and those at the highest margin level should see their marginal million hit hardest. They have benefited more by the public goods being provided in this nation and in their state, in that they get more money coming in with those assets helping, and they should pay more for those public goods so that others can have a better life by being taxed less. They owe it back to the nation that allowed them to prosper. It's called tax the rich. It's been sound policy forever. It's been fought by the rich forever. Gianforte being today's example.

Again, the big lie - deliberately fudging about the top marginal rate being raised, vs a flat tax of 90% - Gianforte mis-dressed that distinction in a lie that a 90% marginal rate would mean everybody having to work until November for the government. That is inexcusible, wanting to blandly mislead people that way. It is an insult to every man, woman and child in the State of Montana saying it that way because he is quite intelligent; meaning he knows better. He should stop.

The Libertarian candidate belonged; but on a few questions it looked as if Quist was ganged up on by two Republicans. If I were in Montana, disinclined to vote for Quist, he'd have my vote over Gianforte, as more of a straight shooter. Less a worry. Less in lockstep with Trump.

However, watching the live stream was reassuring. While being critical about the glide and slide Gianforte did on the deliberate confusion of total vs marginal rate taxation, (it was intentional misrepresentation and nothing short of itentional); I nonetheless admit and write that he would not be as disastrous were Montana voters to send him to DC as the disaster a majority of my home district voters in the Sixth Congressional District of Minnesota did in sending a total brickhead, Michele Bachmann, to Congress. And they did that more than once.

Gianforte, while a rabid creationist, is not anywhere near the threat and menace to reason as was/is/will be Michele Bachmann.

Faint praise? True it is that.

But it forms a perspective.

Were I there, a Montana voter, I would vote Quist. But Montanans are lucky in that any of the three gentlemen would be better as a representative than Bachmann was; and also far better than talk show host Jason Lewis, also from Minnesota, is as a first term Republican Congressman.

Montana is luckier that way.

UPDATE: In saying if I were a Montanan I'd vote Quist, is that saying I think Quist won the debate? No. I do not think he won the debate. I would not vote on that basis. I would look at the men as best as I could to be able to guess which of the three would be the best to send to DC. First, best for the nation because the nation is on an economic brink that could be worse than the Sept. 2008 Bush presidency burst of the securitized real estate mortgage bubble led to, and then, for the State who is best, and the question would be whose judgment would lead to the most good for the most people.

In that, I believe Quist has the best policies in mind, the best heart for others, and the best will to oppose business as usual in DC. I say that mindful that the Governor of my state after a single term in the Senate and refusing to stay there for more, correctly called the way government is done in DC a cesspool. Quist is the one of the three I see with the best likelihood of standing up to that and saying it is morally wrong and that he will not play ball on that team by those improper rules.

Opinions can differ. Gianforte in my view, of the three would be the least likely to rock the boat; since it's a comfortable yacht for his kind and he'd fit right in and he'd oppose rocking it. Not everybody is a yachtsman. (In passing, that analogy is chosen because he sold his business to an actual yachtsman; but the chance of reform of DC appears to me greatest with Quist, and better with the Libertarian than with Gianforte.) In saying all that, I would not be surprised if Montana did elect Gianforte to Congress. It's their choice. Not mine.

FURTHER UPDATE: Here, the post ended with a well-deserved Gianforte "NOAH" jab, and the guy's BS about retirement/social security being absent from the bible, Noah building an Ark at age 700, all that crap. The insincerity of bible-when-it-helps, forget bible when otherwise; someone should tell the two spouses that NOWHERE IN THE BIBLE DOES IT SAY "OUTSOURCE THY NEIGHBOR," DIRECT OR DONE VIA "PARTNERS," AND THAT ESPECIALLY GOES TO THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT AND DO UNTO OTHERS, ETC. That Noah stuff gives a whiff of mendacity, when the Testaments arguably would be the man's core bible parts.

Just saying -

The more I think about it the more it galls me. Without  the Internet, which grew out of DARPANET, a government funded anchor, the guy'd have no cloud to exploit, no direct communication to Oracle, no software of the kind he sold, to have sold; and that is exactly how public goods gave the guy a big, MEGA boost he declines to acknowledge; entrepreneurship being something he says he teaches.


The farm operator Libertarian had far, far, far less of that glide-and-slide and "I Did It My Way."

Just saying -

Rob Quist would be the first to tell you he was blessed and is appreciative; appreciative of being born and spending his boyhood in Montana, in learning ranching, in being blessed with a musical talent that has helped him feed his family; and that accordingly, he has an open heart, compassion, for those less blessed. Love they neighbor means something just seeming to be lacking from the Gianforte candidacy. It's a subjective perception, but I got mine so go get yours as a lifestyle/policy/philosophy seems insensitive to neighborly needs. And that's needs - not wants, needs.

Expecting the Ginaforte spouses are charitable through their church activity, and charity from those of affluence is good to see and is applauded here; nonetheless, that ignores things such as HEALTHCARE AS A RIGHT. Or FAIR TAXING OF THOSE MOST AFFLUENT VIA BENEFIT FROM PUBLIC GOODS. It seems the Gianforte got-mine/get-yours mindset denies rights that most people see differently. Government duty is not narrowly constrained. It is to be tailored to needs of a people, of the citizenry, and it is not a virtue to be chintzy about government aid to others - to the neighbors we are told to love as much as we love ourselves.

Just saying -

Social Darwinism, the fittest prospering the less fit dwindling, is not a way to run a nation.

FURTHER UPDATE: The Libertarian in the debate correctly said, in consideration of "millionaires" in one sense of defining that word, land-poor millionaires are prevalent in Montana.

But that is not how Quist is using the term. Those having an annual net taxable income [loopholes for the rich aside] in the millions of dollars need to look at how they are blessed. And to be humbled by their blessing. Not boisterous and aggressive tax avoiders.

And reading the Montana Cowgirl Blog newest post Sunday morning after the debate,  all that is true and good and needs saying. However, it is ancillary to the simple compelling truth: a person claiming publicly to be a man of faith and admitting to being a man of exceptional wealth does not love his neighbors by bankrolling a creationist museum. Who the hell does that help besides giving an ego boost to Gianforte that his bankroll shows to be unneeded. It is proselytizing one's neighbor, which is something well apart from a love from the heart, a generous outpouring.

Recognizing the land-poor illiquidity thing, unless you find a willing buyer and are a willing seller to cash out; you cannot live as affluently in a McMansion on a stream as some whose wealth is liquid. You have needs, then sell shares does not work for everyone. Particularly for those not owning shares to sell. That recognition is an important distinction Ginaforte also seems inclined to glide-slide and move on. Real property taxes on such "millionaires" as the Libertarian guy focused on hurt. And sales taxes of the kind some would advocate over taxing marginal millions heavily also hurt most at the level of the least affluent. The least able to make ends meet. The ones most needful of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps.

On the latter point - government assuring everyone's right to eat in the wealthiest nation time has ever seen - and the surprise of a blowback from being dismissive of the needs of very many neighbors that way was a topic of interest in Minnesota where I live; e.g., see web notice of a deficient attitude here and here. Individualism is okay in John Wayne films; but in the real world we all are born under a death sentence and however highly we regard ourselves, everybody eats and craps daily, so there is no inherent great difference from the humblest to the haughtiest. We're in it together.

Which candidate(s) for the vacant Congressional seat do you figure has the best grasp of such truths? And, if you do not vote based on that, what are your core principles?

FURTHER UPDATE: All three at the debate, on the question of military spending and interventionist foreign policy, said don't put the troops at unnecessary risk and yet North Korean policy might need an intervention. All that is separate and apart from whether the officer corp, not the grunts in combat, is brass heavy and in need of cost cutting down-sizing. And it is independent from judging the wisdom of firing fifty-nine cruise missiles costing $1.3 million a pop into Syria and not hitting a single thing worth the effort, and doing that based on questionable info about who might have used nerve gas in an uncertain situation. Raytheon, who makes the Tomahawk cruise missles benefitted, but nobody else. The stock went up, and Gianforte might have it and other defense contractor shares in his portfolio, that being more likely than not, in guessing. Welfare for Lockheed is a question apart from never putting the grunts at risk needlessly. In minute long soundbites or less, the "debate" format, any such depth analysis was impossible. The format limited the thing to superficialities, and on the superficialities Gianforte was glib and the most well-spoken. That fact has little to nothing to do with who of the three is wisest; or who of the three has had the life experiences most fit to going to DC and improving the culture and decency there. To some extent that is a gut feeling thing as well as some opinion formed by cogent analysis; and that said, my order of excellence, that way, is Quist, the Libertarian, and Gianforte, last but not incapable at all. Any of the three would be better than what I suffered under, having to tell friends in other states that Michele Bachmann was my Rep.

FURTHER UPDATE: When the "debate" superficially touched on ObamaCare, none of the three had the balls to say that because Montanan Max Baucus chaired a key committee and was in the back pocket of big pharma true reform that way was off the table. Obama likely was in the same, or the other back pocket. Quist disappointed me in not being stronger on Medicare for All, or better universal government paid and run healthcare being the only ultimate answer. Folks in Montana have Saskatchewan and Alberta across the border and the folks there would revolt and flood the streets against any effort to change what they have to the insurance/pharma/HMO dominated pile of garbage we have forced upon us here. A close relative had a bout of congestive heart failure in Montreal, things were streamlined, and the treating hospital physician was adamant - he treats disease and emergency, but is not anyone's paper pusher and in no way in hell was he going to have a thing to do with US forms. That's the place where "Medicare for All" and the Canadian universal care system would differ; with the northern neighbors being smarter and more civilized that way.

Ditto on marijuana. The Libertarian was insightful, if it's broke don't keep pouring money into the rat hole; and Gianforte again was disingenuous with the "gateway durg" crap which was gratuitously inserted by him in his soundbite but not a part of the question. Canada as a nation is legalizing it, or may already have completed the cutover. Because of the money involved, the cutover is not simple, but disenfranchising the cartels and fattening the government coffers from people's recreational habits and/or health needs is the only thing that's ever made sense. Overincarceration of potheads was properly mentioned by Quist as but one very bad aspect of "Drug War" stupidity.

I just perceived, subjectively again, that the Gianforte attitude was "I don't use it, nobody should."

The man simply is NOT a template for the remainder of the nation, despite whether he feels otherwise. Aside from him, it was refreshing to see two of three individuals without overbearing egos. Two of three is not a bad ratio. Three duds would, unfortunately, be more frequent outside of Montana. It's how Mike Pence got elected into DC and as Indiana's governor.

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